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MY SEA 
AND OTHER POEMS 



MY SEA 

OTHER POEMS 

BytheHON.RODEN 
NOEL with an IN- 
TRODUCTION by 
STANLEY 

ADDLESHAW* 



\ 




LONDON : ELKIN MATHEWS 
CHICAGO : WAY fc? WILLIAMS 

MDCCCXCVI 




1143052 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

IN these poems selected from the post-humous 
works of the Hon. Roden Noel will be found 
many of those characteristics which from the 
first have rendered his writings notable in the 
vast poetical literature of the present reign. 
Certain aspects, indeed, of the poet's genius won 
for him a place somewhat apart from his con- 
temporaries. 

His were not perhaps the qualities that make 
for popularity. Like Browning he demands a 
loyal attention from his readers. This, few, alas, 
care to give but those who can and do give 
it, certainly win their reward. 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 
As a nature-poet he took rank with the 
greatest of his contemporaries, for he under- 
stood, as Wordsworth did before him, not only 
the external beauty of nature, but knew also the 
great guiding spirit that lies beneath it. He loved 
the natural world for its innate beauty indeed, 
but also because it was to him an outward 
symbol of an invisible Deity. It is this quality 
then that raises the nature poetry of Roden 
Noel to a very different level from the pastoral 
poems, of which we have only too many at the 
present day. Numerous are the poets, still living, 
who will babble to you of brooks and flowers, 
but few or none who care to fathom the deeper 
mysteries of nature. 

But in Roden Noel's "Natura Naturans" we 
find a fine philosophical veneration for nature 
(so far removed from a mere sensuous apprecia- 
tion of her beauty) fully exemplified. And we 
may note in passing how the Poet does not 
hesitate, in this poem, and in many others, to 
touch upon much that may seem ironical or 
cruel in Nature, or even to explore the darker 
shadows of life. From doing this Wordsworth 
viii 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 
himself shrank, with the result that his nature- 
pictures though always fine, yet sometimes lack 
artistic completeness. 

Though Nature in all her forms, appealed to 
Roden Noel most poignantly, it was the sea that 
inspired him with his finest thoughts. The sea, 
with its capricious changes from storm to calm, 
had an overmastering fascination for him. None 
of his poems are so fine as those in which the 
very clang and strife of the waters seem trans- 
muted into words. In these poems, too, his 
technique rises to its highest level, and often 
their lines ring with a grand yet subtle music. 

In this little book will be found several poems 
of the sea, none perhaps more powerful than 
the "Nocturne" where the waves take tongue 
and speak to the poet of his life, or the "Wild 
love on the Sea " where the hissing of the storm 
forms a fitting accompaniment to the frenzied 
outcries of the triumphant and lawless lover. 
The poem "At Porthcurno" will recall to many 
"The Little Child's Monument" with which it 
is connected in subject and akin in pathos. The 
Sea here, is represented, not in strife and storm, 
ix B 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 
but in joyous gladness, and as a comforter to 
the writer in his sorrow. 

Roden Noel was perhaps primarily a nature- 
poet; undoubtedly his strongest work was inspired 
by the effect Sea and Landscape had upon his 
mind. But he was far from being only a nature- 
poet. He was^intensely human, and sympathized 
as few literary men can do with the joys and 
sorrows of mankind. All who have read " Poor 
People's Christmas" will know how keenly he 
felt for the sufferings of the poor, and how 
bitterly he resented the cruel inequalities of 
modern life. Nevertheless, though this passionate 
sympathy with suffering made him strike at times 
what might seem a pessimistic note, yet he never 
preached the gospel of Despair, but rather pointed 
out wrong, that it should not fester unseen but 
be cleansed and rectified. 

This sympathy with sorrow was accompanied 
by an extraordinary admiration for all Deeds of 
Daring. In this book is a short and spirited poem 
" Isandula" inspired by that same love of courage 
that urged him to write one of his longer and 
more strenuous works, "Livingstone in Africa." 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

These two characteristics of his tempera- 
ment as shown to us in his art his love for 
Nature and his love for humanity, are both as 
I have said well exemplified in many of his post- 
humous poems. Nor are examples wanting of 
his lighter vein. The delicious "Eros in May" 
the music of which is so delicately evanescent, 
the "Inconsistent" where a lifetime is summed 
up in a few terse lines, and the pathetic "To a 
Comrade" are all excellent specimens of his lyric 
verse. 

It may not be quite out of place, when offering 
a selection of hitherto unpublished poems by the 
late Roden Noel, to say a brief word concerning 
the vexed question of his style. It must certainly 
be conceded that the Poet was a thinker first 
and a stylist afterwards. There are indeed in his 
poems not seldom, lines that we could well wish 
altered and polished. But on the other hand his 
style invariably rises with its subject (a rare gift) 
and in his finer poems we come across passage 
after passage where thought and words are wedded 
in a manner only to be found in the great masters. 

It is doubtless this inequality, this varying from 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

the heights to the depths, that has repelled those 
accustomed to the smooth, if somewhat mediocre, 
level of our Minor Poets. To whom we may say 
that this sustained perfection in which they so 
delight, is more often the result of Artifice than 
Art. Roden Noel had but little in common with 
our living poets, he was not the "idle singer of 
an empty day" nor did he consider perfection of 
form the final aim of Poetry. 

Rather would he have seemed to take the much 
disputed dictum of Matthew Arnold's that Poetry 
should be a criticism of life as his standard of 
perfection. A criticism of life in all its phases, 
his poetry certainly was, and we may surmise, in 
the sense that Arnold meant; that is to say as 
a sympathetic interpretation, not as a callous 
analysis of life, which the foolish have supposed. 
For criticism without sympathy is after all but a 
dead letter. 

It were futile, nay impertinent, to hazard any 
prophecy at this time, as to the place the work 
of Roden Noel will ultimately take in our litera- 
ture. That must be left for posterity to decide. 
Let it suffice here to have noticed how his work 
xii 



AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

strikes a contemporary. It may be said without 
presumption that he has many and fervent ad- 
mirers who will not easily let his memory die. 
For, like all writers whose work has been the 
subject of difference and dispute, he has com- 
manded from his followers that tribute of whole- 
hearted admiration so rarely paid to more generally 
accepted talent. And this devotion has good 
reason for its existence. It is not the result of 
unthinking admiration. For there is revealed in 
his poems a noble nature that appeals to all that 
is best in us. What Matthew Arnold said of 
Goethe might be said with equal truth of him: 

"He took the suffering human race 
He read each wound, each weakness clear, 
And struck his finger on the place, 
And said thou ailest here and here." 

STANLEY ADDLESHAW. 
Oxford, 1895. 



xin 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

MY SEA, MY SEA 17 

INCONSISTENT 2O 

WILD LOVE ON THE SEA 22 

NOCTURNE 2 

AT FORTH CURNO 27 

EROS IN MAY 32 

ISANDULA 34 

MIDNIGHT 36 

LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY .... 40 

TO 49 

TO A COMRADE 51 

TO 52 

GREY EYES 54 

MYSTIC MUSIC 56 

NATURA NATURANS 59 



XV 



MY SEA, MY SEA 



MY SEA, MY SEA 

MY SEA, my Sea! 

From east to west thou callest me, 
From east to west I follow thee; 

1 of the homeless heart go home 
To hear thy lullaby of foam, 
Thou homeless sea, 

Whose dear voice hath no promise broken; 
Of disappointing change no token 
Thy sweet monotony of sound 
Involveth, and thou callest me; 
There's little human left so true 
As thy deep billowy breast of blue 
To lay the weary head upon, 
Whose earthly day is nearly done; 
Thy crystal doors would let me through 
To the infinite beyond 
From this our life's too galling bond: 
Whether on the pebbly beach, 
c 17 



MY SEA, MY SEA 

Or on sand, thy tender speech 

Makes living music, or on rock 

The jubilant dear surges shock, 

I hear thy voice, 

And I rejoice, 

Who was so very full of pain, 

I deemed I could not smile again. 

They ask why since I set my dwelling 

By thy billowy bosom swelling 

I do not seek my holiday 

Inland: I know not what to say: 

Why I travel not inland 

Indeed I hardly understand; 

But, O my sea, my sea, 

Mystic voices summon me, 

And, like a weeping child, I come 

O sheen elusive, fluctuant foam 

Where you sing your lullaby, 

There to live, or there to die. 

Ah! the fault is all in me, 

Who seek what here may never be, 

Who adore ethereal dreams, 

That lend our earth few fleeting gleams; 

And yet I know one glimpse of love 

Is more than mines or treasure trove; 

18 



MY SEA, MY SEA 

But he hath swift wings like a dove, 

Light-nets on clear-water sand 

Are less than Love's entangling band, 

Silent, unaware they come, 

Silent, unaware, pass home; 

But when Love flieth, when he fadeth, 

Pain grows for something that degradeth; 

Thy shores are flecked with crimson weed, 

But Love's with drops from hearts that bleed : 

So for me, for me 

My lipping, leaping, laughing sea 

My sea, my sea! 



INCONSISTENT 



INCONSISTENT 

A PROUD man, I adore the lowly, 

Sinful, kneel before the holy, 

Unclean, fall prone before the pure ; 

Rebel, salute Who did endure 

Unmurmuring; give blow for blow, 

Yet Him who, burdened with world's woe, 

Unmindful of His own, fell low, 

Glory to avow I serve; 

And though men jeer, I will not swerve! 

Lord, take my heart, and open it; 

Judge Thou if that be hypocrite! 

Gold, pomp, revenge, the sword, the drum, 

Scorn flaunted full by Christendom, 

In face of Him we feign to follow, 

And worship with lip-service hollow! 

Yet why take this mean Man for God, 

Unless for His poor, dark abode, 

20 



INCONSISTENT 



Where gloweth Love's eternal fire, 
We felt some hidden deep desire? 
We are captive, who would fain be free! 
Soul of my soul, O Lord, deliver me! 



21 



WILD LOVE ON THE SEA 



WILD LOVE ON THE SEA 

1 SING to me, sing to me, foam of the Sea, 
Sing, while we sail, to my darling and me, 
While we heel to the wind, the foam flies 

from the bow, 
My love laughs, we were never so happy 

as now ! 

We rush through the water, we scatter the 

spray, 
The foam-bubbles leap in the blue light 

away, 
My sails are less white than your bosom 

or hand, 
We will sail on for ever afar from the land. 

O dotards may mumble their winterly talk, 
But the young joy of living their age may 
not baulk, 



WILD LOVE ON THE SEA 

We shall soon be beyond their bleak North- 
erly Clime, 

Who fain would persuade us that love is 
a crime. 

Never fear, never fear, nestle closer to me, 

O we joy to bound over wild waves and 
be free! 

For our bridal sing, winds ! and, blithe bil- 
lows, your song 

Breathe into your clarion loudly and long ! 

Winds whistle, and fill the full-bellying sail ; 
Yea, what if they rise, and blow shrill to 

a gale? 
My boat is a rare one, she swims like a 

bird- 
Ha ! what if the roar on the reefs may be 

heard ? 

You're the loveliest lady that ever was 

known, 

My rival I slew, and the bride is my own ; 
Warm bosom to bosom, hot mouth unto 

mouth, 
We are flying to lovelier lands of the 

South...." 

23 



WILD LOVE ON THE SEA 

** Nay, the sky's growing darker, I fain would 

return " 
" Your doubts are too late, love, your scruple 

I spurn;" 

" I fear thee, I fear thee, fierce lover of mine; 
a Thy lips are the wild wave, thy breasts 

are the brine!" 

"Ho! with storm to the windward, and 

breakers to lee, 
" They go swimming with Death, who go 

sailing with me!" 



NOCTURNE 



i 



NOCTURNE 

AT the close of a day in December 
I went by the winter sea, 
And my soul was a fading ember 
In abysms of immensity. 

Then God spake out of the gloaming, 
Where the wave gave over strife, 
And fell, wan, feeble, and foaming, 
'Man, what hast thou done with life?' 

I was ware of a mournful throbbing, 
Of a seapulse on the shore, 
And I heard in it women sobbing, 
Whom I loved and who loved me of yore. 

In a rift of the cloudy distance 
Lay blood from the fallen sun, 
While the wind with a low insistance, 
Like a breaking heart moaned on. 
25 



NOCTURNE 

O blithely the sun ascended 
With carol of bird and breeze! 
And now his career being ended; 
He fell through the leafless trees, 
Amid sighing sounds of seas. 

Do the life and the work fail wholly 
For a man who hath lived and loved? 
Through the joy and the melancholy 
With finishing hand God moved. 



26 



AT PORTHCURNO 



AT PORTHCURNO 

O RUDE cliff-castle pile, 

resonant shell-shore, 

Your clear green waters smile 

In sunshine as of yore, 

Rebuffed from the grave granite rock 

With many a frolic water-shock ! 

Their laughter glads your sand 

With delicate white foam, 

A dancing light green band 

Under a deep blue dome. 

It is the same blithe scene 

Of wild aerial glee; 

But years have rolled between 

My happy past and me! 

And yet aloud I call, 

In fellowship with all, 

1 catch my breath for joy 
To see the wavelets toy .... 

27 



AT PORTHCURNO 

Till stabbed to the heart I fall, 
Remembering my boy; 
For where the wavelets toy, 
He did out-dance the hours, 
Out-dance the briny brood, 
Arrayed in soft sea-flowers, 
While I defied the flood, 
At flood-tide of my powers! 
My forehead strikes the stone; 
Convulsed with sobs I moan, 
Hear voices calling, 'Come, 
To rest beneath the foam!' 

The day was even as this, 
Heaven wore as clear a brow, 
Sea and earth one bliss, 
Ah! what is wanting now? 
The sunshine of the breast, 
Youth more blithe than day, 
Whose every wild behest 
Unwearying limbs obey! 
The presence of the child 
That made my world so fair; 
From whose frame undefiled 
The soul fled otherwhere! 
Q lilt of playful wave, 
28 



AT PORTHCURNO 

dance of wild green billow, 
Winning spells ye have, 
Each following his fellow, 
Clash, confound your foam 

In your aerial home, 
Refluent from the stone 
On following wave to run, 
Immingling treble laughter 
With his that follows after! 
And yet surpassing this 
Were peals of boyish bliss, 
When he danced with you, 
And laughed into the blue! 
Ah, what a harmony 
Were then the earth and sky! 
Now too like a knell, 
Wanting the master-spell, 
Their music seems to fall 
On a heart beneath a pall; 
For while live air I quaff, 

1 seem to hear him laugh 
With the breeze and brine, 
And, hearing him, I pine. 
Yonder is the cot white-walled, 
Where I brooded o'er my rhyme, 
And the solitude ne'er palled 

29 



AT PORTHCURNO 

Amid the fragrance of the thyme 
By wild wave and cliff sublime, 
Yet I do not love them less, 
Now I feel my loneliness, 
Nor brook that hurries toward the Sea, 
To hide in His Eternity! 
And mine are a few hearts who love 
More than wastes of foam that rove! 
But, ah, sweet sea! you conquer me 
With your unconquerable glee! 
I plunge, do what you will with me! 
Every fluctuant foam-blossom, 
Glassed within a limpid bosom, 
Foamy hair, dishevelled blown 
In all the glory of the sun, 
How ye race toward the shore 
Immingling on a shelly floor, 
Labyrinthine lines of light 
Dallying with you in your flight, 
While the gleaming birds above 
Hover over fish that move 
In the lucid realms they love. 
Oh, how the young air abounds 
With happy musical sea-sounds! 
Waves are they, or young children's voices ? 
The world is young! my heart rejoices! 
30 



AT PORTHCURNO 

And surely he cannot be far 

From here where such sweet voices are! 

I will follow where you lead, 

Flow over me, or wind your weed, 

In a cave I'll learn your rede; 

Where reposing at full length 

I may recover youth and strength. 






EROS IN MAY 



EROS IN MAY 

MAYBLOOM foameth pink and white, 
Applebloom hath purple light, 
Butterflies have fairy flight, 
Leaves dally in their young delight. 

Goldencups with burnished boat 
On billowy verdure blithely float, 
In labyrinths under, dim, remote, 
Daisy and speedwell blend their fine 
Trebles in the joy divine, 
While yellowdusted bees hum over 
Honied purple of the clover. 

Soft, fertile gold fills every flower, 
Birds warble and pair in every bower; 
We yield to Life's abounding power! 
Now, or never, Love's full hour! 
32 



EROS IN MAY 

Laburnum burned in burning blue, 
Windwaves o'er sheeny grasses flew; 
No blossom was more fair than you; 
Longing lips together grew! 

Now warm kisses melt, combine, 
Limbs are white and warm and fine, 
Love is more than mantling wine, 
All or nothing, lady mine ! 

June, 1889. 



33 



ISANDULA 



ISANDULA 

NEAR the close of the dim day 
That saw defeat of England's pride, 
Two horsemen cleave their torrent way 
Through the dusk overwhelming tide 
Of those who hurl the assagai, 
Ruin yawns above their ride 
Swarthy warriors mown like hay, 
Carrying with them England's colours 
From the field of death and dolours, 
Riding from Isandula. 

Never draw they bridle rein, 
Followed by the loud pursuit 
Their swift gallop burns the plain 
Until either gallant brute 
Failing with the mighty strain 
Faints with ebbing life, on foot 
They take up the flight again, 
34 



ISANDULA 

Carrying with them England's colours 
From the field of death and dolours, 
After dark Isandula. 

They have reached the swollen river, 
Lurid twilight falls around, 
One cries " Comrade, now or never, " 
Both have plunged in tho profound, 
For the goal of their endeavour 
Is to land on English ground, 
From their flag no fiend may sever, 
They will save old England's colours 
From the field of death and dolours, 
Flying from Isandula! 

Two warriors on the further shore 
Whose crimson glows with other red 
Gashed and waterstained and frore, 
Their countrymen discover dead. 
Our colours round their waist they wore, 
Royal on their lowly bed! 
England on their heart they bore; 
Wound in emblems of Her glory. 
She remembers them in story, 
Weeping for Isandula! 



35 



MIDNIGHT 



MIDNIGHT 



BEWILDERED in a world of stars, 
I wander in the dim midnight, 
November mist their glory mars, 
Bare boughs relieved on doubtful light; 
I cower beneath the infinite. 
Unseen one paces by my side. 
The past gone far beyond recall! 
Where now the laughter, joy, and pride, 
Of life before the autumn fall? 
My heart lies under a dull pall. 
Dear forms and voices of my dead! 
Restore them, O thou milky way! 
Serene you shine, though they are fled! 
The maze of worlds, cold, awful, grey, 
Abides unchanged, but where are they? 
I cower beneath chill eyes unmoved, 
36 



MIDNIGHT 

And like a lost child weeping go: 
May hearts once loving and beloved 
Be nought while ye are all aglow? 
Nor you, nor them, nor self I know. 
Where are they? only wild winds wail, 
Or wander moaning on the wold, 
Far surges on the rocks are rolled: 
Gloom-involving mind will fail, 
And the warmest heart lie cold. 
O whelming wilderness of stars. 
Of whom some never spake to men! 
Blind behind our mortal bars, 
Dare we boast our eagle-ken. 
Vaunt poor Earth the centre, when 
Other reasons, rights and wrongs, 
Joys, woes, battle-cries, and songs, 
Reign yonder? all-devouring gloom 
Demands my soul to feed the tomb! 
They dartling rays of varied splendour 
Mutual service royal render, 
While evermore their lights advance 
In solemn many-motioned dance. 
The pageant of the illumined Past 
Surrounds me in dim dream-array; 
Mine own, now vanished in the vast, 
Once more I hear their voices say, 
37 



MIDNIGHT 

'Well-loved faces fade away: 
'We shall 'be like these one day!' 
We wonder at their funerals; 
To-morrow men will bear our palls. 
Sure that we shall always grieve, 
Ah, how soon the tears are dry ! 
Vowing we will always cleave 
To one love only, how we sigh 
At other feet, yea, lightly leave 
Ere Death can hasten to bereave! 
Poor broken wrecks of Love and Joy 
Lie stranded on the shores of Time ; 
Our Reason, a fool's broken toy, 
Once loomed so wondrous and sublime! 
Weak feet are ours yon heights to climb. 
And O what puny hands to span 
Twin spheres of nature, and of man! 
One treads an insect into earth 
Unheeding ne'er a jest nor jeer'- 
Yet some inviolable hearth 
Of private conscious life was here! 
High Mundane Powers mock man's despair, 
Who recked not even what we were, 
But crushed us in their awful mirth. 
Young Love, who leaps to life like Rhine, 
Child of the hills, reverberates morn, 
38 



MIDNIGHT 

With laughter and with joy divine, 

Exulting only to be born, 

He crowned, abounding, feeds with corn 

The races, warms their hearts with wine, 

Yet the Life that blest the lands 

Dies dwindled in ignoble sands! 



39 



MIDNIGHT 



II. 



She swathed him in his comforter, 
And watched him down the miry street; 
The dreary dawn was all one blur; 
She heard the parting horse's feet. 
He serves the milk from door to door, 
The milkman his well-trusted friend; 
But the mother trusts him more 
To One who knows nor change nor end 
The boy returns whom she did lend 
But how? knifed, mutilated, stark, 
With foulest outrage done to death! 
O Power tremendous, dire and dark, 
From Whom we all derive this breath, 
(He slays, and He delivereth!) 
Men owe Thee life and strength and food, 
Thou canst loose, and Thou canst bind ! 
Yet I will not call Thee good, 
And I dare not call Thee kind 
Until Thou deafen and make blind! 
Is our awful world endued 
With Demon's heart, that pumps black blood ? 
40 



MIDNIGHT 

With sin, disease, and accident, 

Thou doest what the murderer doth! 

Amid wrecked trains burnt, scalded, rent, 

Thou mangiest babes of cherished growth! 

To tell the horrors Art is loth. 

Yoked to Hell's triumphal car 

Toil we, prisoners of war? 

Ah, longer than my peers forlorn, 

I held to what appeared firm hold, 

But now wild winds and waves have sworn 

The loss of one who seemed too bold, 

And plunged in the abysses cold; 

Over me their night hath rolled. 



MIDNIGHT 



III 



And yet, what little hearts are ours 
To hold the miseries of the world! 
Behind our private belts of flowers 
We play, nor view to ruin hurled 
Our kindred, till for us Death lowers, 
And summons from the pleasant bowers. 
Dare not forecast the Future know 
The doom that Fate reserves for youl 
Look no World-Gorgon in the face. 
Grisly Madness waits that way; 
Only help as help ye may! 
We have to pass the loathly place, 
To reach yon heights of holy Day, 
Serenely shining far away. 
So we justify the Lord. 
And kiss the terrible red sword ! 
Far throned in hidden eternal state, 
Though wingless, desolate, she roam, 
The Soul hath chosen all Her fate, 
Now remembering not the Home, 
Whereunto wealthier she will come. 
42 



MIDNIGHT 

If One who bore the wide world's pain 
Heartbroken, blest and trusted God, 
I may look up and smile again, 
Kiss the plague-enravelled rod, 
And follow where the Master trod. 
Ah, surely, each is kin to all, 
And man, a mirror of the whole; 
Should worlds, gods, demons, aught appal 
Who knows himself a conscious soul? 
Give me but time, no bounds may thrall 
One who hath God Himself for goal! 
Ah, solitudes immense, profound! 
And lonelier solitudes within! 
Ye shine, O worlds, in solemn swound; 
All the discord, all the din 
Of a city's moil and sin 
Heard from a tower, or from high ground 
Blend to one great ocean-sound; 
So from memories are lost 
All we gladly would forget; 
Faces white with Death's deep frost 
Lose the fever and the fret ; 
So yonder orbs in darkness met, 
Each a silver tranquil ghost, 
Lose all of vext and tempest-tost; 
By mortal eyes undreamed in day, 
43 



MIDNIGHT 

Revealed alone to darkling night, 
They rest so far, so far away, 
I deem their calm and gentle light 
For our consoling seems to say, 
'Absorbed within the Infinite, 
'Deforming evils fallen away, 
'No dishonouring care can stain, 
'The Ideal only rule and reign!' 

Dear places, feelings, thoughts, will go, 

Calm revolving worlds will fail, 

But when the stars have ceased to glow 

Abideth One who ne'er can pale, 

And all in Him, immortal, hale, 

Our Life, abide; whate'er remove, 

Remaineth the Eternal Love, 

And surely Love will reunite 

Who wander sundered here in night ! 

Surely Love will lead them home, 

However far afield they roam! 

Begun November, 1888; finished May, 1889. 



44 



LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY 



LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY 

O LOVE, how the chorus 

Of billowy laughter 
Softens here for us, 

And the winds' merry wafture 
To a murmur subsideth, 

Dulled by uneven 
Cavewall that hideth 

A span of blue heaven, 
And sunflashing ocean, 

Yet all in a minute 
If you make a mere motion, 

Your ear is full in it, 
In the full tide of thunder 

Sea pours in his joying; 
Even so with blithe wonder 

A child who is toying 
To a shell's heart may listen, 

Hold the lips near, withdraw them; 
45 



LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY 

How the jewel waves glisten, 

While sunny winds flaw them; 
Green billows are blending 

Clear luminous bosoms, 
Confusedly lending 

One another white blossoms; 
Rank after rank they 

On the sand fall in froth, or 
Where iron cliffs flank, they 

Rush athwart one another. 
Grow transient fountains 

Cloudily foaming, 
Robe grim craggy mountains 

Whitefurred with their coming. 
Hear what a glorious 

Wild warsong resounding, 
As from ever-victorious 

Hosts leaping and bounding! 
Blue air is alive with 

Young joy of their forces; 
Lo! how they drive with 

Tossed manes of white horses! 
From flickering foam-blossom 

Shadows are sliding 
Down the waves' hollow-dome-bosom, 

Gleaming and gliding. 
4 6 



LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY 

Little shells on a yellow sand, 

With a wave-damascening, 
Little wells in the mellowland 

Eyes of deep meaning! 
The glad ripple in dancing 

On the shore with a light froth. 
In his footing and glancing 

Leaves it marked like a night-moth. 
Gems in the carmine 

Of dim fretted hollows ! 
The cave is a starmine 

Where the eye follows; 
Purple seaweeds are laving 

In pure pools at leisure, 
Languidly waving 

With delicate pleasure; 
Fantastical arches 

With cloud's wavy margin, 
Where the ocean-wave marches, 

Plumed cavalry charging! 
You behold lonely islands 

On the sea's azure through them. 
I feel they are my lands, 

I a bird flying to them. 
... If the wet sand be sinking 

Under your frail foot, 



LIGHT LOVE BY THE SEA-GLORY 

That in water land drinking 

Groweth down like a pale root, 
Sit here on my knee, love, 

'Tis firmer and drier! 
Safe here will you be, love, 

From seas that aspire; 
Ah! let us enjoy, love, 

The moment in flying, 
Even while we toy, love, 

Daylight is dying! 
Then will the hour come, 

And touch with forgetting, 
Stars over our numb 

Forms rising and setting. 
Alive the World- Wonder 

Flames thundering onward, 
And while we go under, 

Earth sweepeth sunward; 
I acclaim the wild world-masque, 

Who cease to be agent, 
Who, faint with my furled task, 

Fall out of the pageant! 



TO 





COMRADE beloved, and helpful soulfellow, 
I fear lest that fine pallor I admire, 
Wherefrom by twilight of thy rosy fire 
Your eyes, like stars in limpid water, glow, 
From pain and frequent weariness may flow ! 
Ah ! more than one who loved me and my lyre 
Hath left me darkling, and hath risen higher ; 
I pray thee, comrade, to abide below! 

With tuneful voice, and with the poet's heart 
You sing to heal and gladden our sad time. 
With Mary you have chosen the better part, 
Shedding soul-rays upon our weary clime; 
Neither your friend will yield you, nor your 

Art; 
He needs yourself, and she requires your 

rhyme. 



49 






TO 

Translation from the German. 

BUT once again; my spirit cries, 
I would behold thy face, 
Ere in the sunshine of thine eyes 
I fade, nor leave a trace ! 

It was a dream, a lovely dream, 

I lived with thee my love; 

All vanished, like the foaming gleam, 

That on the wave may move! 

There now remains in memory 

Thine image, thine alone; 

My heart broods ever over thee, 

And longs for thee, mine own! 



TO A COMRADE 



TO A COMRADE 

HE said, "Now I shall go to sleep",* and 

died. 
Ah! brother, when shall we rest side by 

side? 

O God, O God, the duty is too hard 
Ever, on every hand, Thy citadel to guard ! 
Yet, comrade, life is to be loved, and love! 
Will not these two remain when all remove ? 
However deep the abysses that divide, 
However roars between the sundering tide ! 

* Byron's last words. 



TO 



TO 

As one who rideth pale and weary 
Through a barren lonely land 
While the dull horizons dreary 
Around, one solitude, expand 
Finds unaware a limpid spring 
Of warbling water on the way, 
Lovely home of flower and wing, 
Gentle bird and flitting jay; 
Parched lips unto the fountain cling, 
In those wan eyes there dawns a ray, 
New life to languid limbs they bring, 
Chill October yields to May: 
So thy brilliant bloom thy prime 
To my heart was when I met thee ; 
O passion flower from sunnier clime, 
In memory's garland have I set thee! 
52 



TO 

Glorious gain, or honeyed harm, 
Thine the subtle, witching charm, 
In thy large, thy limpid eyes 
The labyrinthine mysteries. 

Aug. 9th, 1893. 



53 



GREY EYES 



GREY EYES 

Lady of the large grey eyes, 
Limpid lakes, aerial skies, 
Home of heavenly harmonies, 
Like a bird, my soul takes flight 
To lose herself in ample light, 
Warm and deep and infinite! 
Soundeth all the gloaming mine, 
Where the living jewels shine, 
Passeth happy languid hours, 
Dreaming in the lovelit bowers, 
Wanders meshed in mazy flowers ! 
Patience, Courage strong and true, 
Pity dwells amid their dew, 
Tender flower soft and blue. 
Yea, from care for human pain, 
Weeping warm and gentle rain, 
You would even embrace your bane, 
Wanting only to sustain ! 
54 



GREY EYES 

Roused by wrong, the starry dream 
Veileth all her tranquil beam, 
Cloud-enshrouded lightnings dart 
Angers of a righteous heart! 
Hideth there an earthlier fire, 
To consume us on the pyre 
Of wild, flame-beautiful desire? 
I know not! only in your eyes 
Limpid, large, responsive, wise, 
Lo ! my soul, a bird, takes flight 
To lose herself in ample light, 
Warm, and deep, and infinite! 

August, '89 



55 



MYSTIC MUSIC 



MYSTIC MUSIC 

FAINT memory of a dreamborn tune, 
Muffled low the music sounded, 
But the same air, reforming soon, 
More lovely, ever more abounded, 
Broke bonds where in the silence wound it, 
Growing more articulate 
From hidden orchestras that mould it, 
Assumed a more majestic state, 
Labyrinthine flower unfolded 
Hourly by the breath of spring, 
Until the Harmony all glorious 
Rose on strong, expansive wing 
Dominating, pealed victorious, 
Erst budding, dim-divined thing; 
Now the elate exultant hearer 
Feels his heart arrived at home, 
While that psean ever clearer 
With thunder-roll expands the dome; 
56 



MYSTIC MUSIC 

His heart, a royal-ported swan, 
Sails the sound, where wondrous vision, 
As by some harbour-river shone, 
Dream-palace fronts, the world's derision, 
Deemed fancies vain! arow they flank 
The flower-terraced shore; but pinion 
Of the eagle-music sank; 
Fell from that sublime dominion. 
So a fountain fails and flows, 
The organized high strain reverted, 
To formless murmur whence it rose 
The hearer's heart dropped disconcerted, 
The flower withered to a close; 
All the glowing glories faded, 
Common day oppressed the view, 
Dream-palace frontage blurred and shaded; 
And yet, ah yet, he hears anew, 
Evolving order from confusion, 
The rhymic travail throbbing low, 
Reforming kosmos; no illusion, 
Whatever comrades named it so, 
For he knew the breathing chorus 
Not from him alone did flow, 
Like spring-tides of the ocean, bore us, 
Pealing at full flood again, 
To goals beyond the primal strain, 
57 



MYSTIC MUSIC 

More vital even, rich sonorous, 

Fed on failure, want and pain. 

He knew the anthem re-created 

Ever by the general soul, 

The human soul with nature mated, 

Who lives to organize the whole, 

That would fain evade control; 

So the God grows formed within us, 

And without us in the world ; 

Till the spheral music win us, 

And our weary wings unfurled 

Young, unwearying, unhasting, 

Fulfil their high emprize, while resting. 

April, 1893. 



NATURA NATURANS 



NATURA NATURANS 

The woodlands have a green world all their 

own, 

Young joy of life among the delicate leaves, 
To men who wander under them unknown, 
Where whispering Zephyr light and shadow 

weaves, 

And dewy-eyed blithe birds of various tone 
Thrid labyrinths illumined; singing heaves 
Their dewy bosoms while they charm the 

bowers, 

And gaily set a-swinging many a spray 
With buoyant, swift caprices; tall beech 

towers, 

Mossed bole of mottled variegated grey, 
From thronging grasses flecked with sulphur 

flowers ; 

Among the boughs a sweet perpetual play 

Of living things newborn; a mystic sound 

59 



NATURA NATURANS 

Pervades their interwoven sea-murmuring 

roof, 
Where love-built nests, where cooing doves 

abound ; 
Of Love's high advent the young world 

gives proof; 
Love at full flood makes earth one holy 

ground ; 

Love's hands aerial weave a wondrous woof 
Of melody and mystery Divine; 
So that I wish my dear dead for a dwelling 
No lovelier than this lovely land of mine 
When Spring arrives, and waves her wand, 

compelling 
A million blades and blooms to rise and 

shine ; 

Yea, from sere leaf-lace, humid mould sweet- 
smelling, 

Life-feeding generations of the dead, 
Beauty and health are nourished with young 

joy- 
Here the veined fragile sorrel bells are fed, 

Whose leafs a triple heart; babe roseleaves 

toy 
With hazel wands, wee crimson thorns they 

wed 

60 



NATURA NATURANS 

With wandering woodbine; leaflets tumble 

coy 

Out of pink winter-cots o'er one another, 
Rumpled and laughing ; by sweet sun called 

early 

Obeying the dear still voice of their Mother ; 
While infant ferns wake peeping scaled and 

curly ; 
Ruffled, fresh green leaf-sister calls to 

brother ; 
The warm South shepherds showers mild 

and pearly. 

Here lady beech, embraced by her lord oak, 
Leaned in his strong rude arms, while well 

content 
Under their breaths young leaves immingl- 

ing spoke 
Softly, and then were silent, their souls 

blent. 

The ecstasy of nightingales awoke 
Within the downy-foliaged firmament; 
Rivers and lakes of hyacinths meander 
Among the teeming greenery below, 
Where many a humming velvet bee may 

wander, 

And the dew-elves' illuminations glow, 
61 



NATURA NATURANS 

Mid tiny herbs, pale primrose, blue ger- 
mander. 

But those great aisles of pillared forest 
show 

Large open spaces, clear of trees, whose 
mast, 

And russet leaves of many years have 
browned 

Floors, only greenlit by young fern; here 
passed 

The storm's might, wrestling with the 
strength of crowned 

Tall forest kings, and bowed their pride at 
last. 

Yonder a piteous sight upon the ground! 

Huge oak that would nor bend nor break, 
uprooted, 

Though with prodigious talons it grasped 
earth, 

Deepbased in Night; as high in Day fair- 
fruited, 

Dowered with a home inalienable from birth, 

It seemed, for ever here; whose fall was 
bruited 

With league-wide tumult, when the storm's 
fierce mirth 

62 



NATURA NATURANS 

Hurled low the giant, and a wide wound 

made 

In rich brown soil; a very garden-space 
Of mould and stones the tree clutched as 

it swayed 
In that dread shock; there many a flower's 

fair face 
Peers now mid those great rent roots naked 

laid. 

The forest patriarchs live out long years, 
Their inner secret all unknown to man; 
They groan, they labour in the storm, with 

tears 
Of rain they twinkle, glow with light ; but 

can 

Any divine what feeling saddens, cheers, 
What mind informs the inarticulate clan? 
Nay, they are resting on their own calm 

shade, 
While men pine under them, men fume and 

fret; 

The gentle grass and flowers are ne'er afraid, 
With dews, not tears, the woodland ways 

are wet ; 
Though human hearts were broken while 

they prayed, 

63 



NATURA NATURANS 

Serenely breathed the wee wild violet. 
Yon trees live out long lives; our genera- 
tions, 
Like their own leaves, rise, fall about their 

feet, 
Through periods; mere shadowed clouds 

men fleet, 
While these drowsed Druid forms keep 

wonted stations, 

Lives individual, dynasties, and nations; 
Their mystic souls and ours may never meet. 
These have known rose-red youth, fair love, 

young gladness, 
Have seen Heartshine ascend the heavens 

to wane, 
Heard the blithe hunter's horn, bells tolled 

for sadness, 
Seen child grow man, then turn to child 

again, 
Stern, strong resolve fade out to halt, blind 

madness. 
Their peers in age beheld the Red King 

droop, 

His heart stilled by a random-glancing dart, 
While pulsing with hot life, and loud with 

hope; 

6 4 



NATURA NATURANS 

Beheld the royal jester, lewd and swart 
Cower mid their boughs from that rough 

Roundhead troop, 
Questing like sleuthhounds under their green 

heart ; 

Saw Henry hide his Rose-of-all-the-world 
In bowers like these, lest Eleanor discover 
The adored and dainty morsel closely curled 
Away from her, fierce wedded hawk a-hover. 
He found her slain, the nest to ruin hurled, 
Then raving anguish burned the royal lover. 
But yonder ants with their economies 
Are every whit as wonderful as man ! 
For note how each his proper function plies, 
Counting for world-crest his poor bustling 

clan ; 
These have towns, loves, wars, long-drawn 

histories, 

And famous bards, with critics born to ban ! 
Ah, men! your laughter-moving airs and 

graces 

Your fond assumptions of authority, 
Seem antics to the calm eternal faces, 
Regarding you from yonder world-eyed sky ; 
For haughty gesture, proud look, royal 

paces, 
F 65 



NATURA NATURANS 

Turn palsy, rheum-drops, flotsam idling by ! 
Leaf-filtered sunshine lies upon the moss, 
Between cool shadows, like a tranquil 

blessing ; 

The exhilarated merry branches toss 
Their newborn leaves in azure air caressing ; 
With red-tipped daisies, cups of silver gloss, 
Young Spring the wrongs of Winter is 

redressing. 
Hearken! what passion-hearted wealth of 

song 

With fire-spray, mazy blossom, thrills the air, 
Vieing a moment, with more during throng 
Of budded plants, that make wood-floors so 

fair; 

From fountain-stems of pining low and long 
Flies many-spangling rapture rich and rare. 
The solemn-pillared aisles are misty-dim 
With distance; their moss waves are green 

and brown; 
All blends with the sweet mood of her and 

him, 
Whose fair young forms are lying listless 

down 

Under a forest lord of giant limb, 
His dragon roots around their beauty thrown. 
66 



NATURA NATURANS 

They leaned anear a stately tower of beech, 
Against a caverned ruin of old oak, 
Where nestling very closely each to each, 
They were so happy that they seldom 

spoke, 

Silently waiting for dear Love to teach ; 
Whose breath was gentler than mild airs 

that woke 

In festal foliage, tenderly defined 
Athwart the still blue waters of a lake, 
A woodbird's flight away, where moorhens 

find 
Their reedy home ; with flash and plash they 

make 

Warm stillness sweeter for the twain reclined, 
As o'er the water their glad way they take; 
And yet anon a harmless sylvan sound 
Of squirrel, bird, or restless russet leaf 
Startles the timid hearts with sudden bound, 
They fear some coldly-prying human thief 
May snatch the bliss wherein they both 

are wound, 

So rich and rapturous, albeit so brief! 
Fair woodland labyrinths weave green lithe 

arms 

To roof the curly head of either lover, 
67 



NATURA NATURANS 

And downy leaves are whispering soft 

charms, 

While to and fro the nimble Ariels hover, 
Fanning desire that never dreams of harms, 
Whatever sword unseen be hanging over. 
Fine limbs, fair undulating delicate flesh, 
Invite to joy the solitude allows, 
While vital sap that rises pure and fresh 
Challenging calls the kindred blood which 

flows 
In their warm veins; sun weaves a glowing 

mesh 
With foliaged shadows on the smooth, white 

skin; 
From Pleasure's mantling bowl the ripe lips 

quaff; 

They hear the cuckoo-call leave off, begin 
Ever afresh, doves coo, and the wild laugh 
Of woodpecker, tit's tinkle clear and thin, 
Yet for a moment they observe what half 
Alarms; it stares, they deem, with spectral 

scowl, 
A dwarfed, deformed trunk, hugegirthed, 

mouldering, dark, 
By Heaven's bolt blasted ; a monk's shadowy 

cowl 

68 



NATURA NATURANS 

It seems to wear, one blackened arm stretched 

stark, 

As in denunciation; a grim ghoul 
Head-tentacled, with fungus-blotched rude 

bark, 
(In such a scene the Druid poured young 

blood!) 

But not one leaf upon its monstrous age; 
This chilled their hearts a moment as it 

stood 
In dead brown drifts, an evil-threatening 

mage; 
Yet subtle spells rose from the breathing 

wood ! 

The caterpillar in a fine silk swung 
From frondage o'er them, hued like pale 

green jade, 

While flower-bells a fairy peal faint rung; 
In leafy cradles the aurelia swayed, 
And now the lovely lovers closer clung, 

Feeling a summer-sense in all the glade 

But far away one heard the woodman's axe 
Splinter the cream-white, fragrant woods 

resounding ; 
Muscle-ridged arms, and supple stalwart 

backs 

69 



NATURA NATURANS 

The man-surpassing years of trees are round- 
ing; 

So God, the woodman, clears the space He 
lacks 

Among His men and women, too abounding; 

To warm Himself the human faggot stacks. 

Is it Dame Nature's frolic thus to dangle 

Baits She who made us knows we can't 
resist ? 

Set Conscience and blind Passion all a-jangle, 

Then frown because we have too hotly kissed, 

And done her bidding; bad folk will she 
mangle ? 

Nay, for Her mills use bad and good for 
grist! 



NATURA NATURANS 



Mid gorgeous autumn gold she creeps to die ; 
All the deep forest burns with wondrous fires 
The low red sun glares like God's angry eye, 
Through black contorted boughs, whose leafy 

lyres 

Are muttering veiled oracles on high, 
While she flits haggard through rain-sodden 

mires, 
Her heart a-flame; wild-eyed and pale she 

fares ; 

The branches pluck at her the while she goes ; 
Few songsters warble where the hectic flares, 
But on a winedark bramble the wind blows 
Some soft grey down blood-reddened; an 

owl scares 

Her hooting from the hollow oak ; she knows 
That place too well ; the lake is at her feet, 
Where he and she lay lapped in heaven's 

bliss ! 
Dimrobed in cloth of gold those beeches 

greet 



NATURA NATURANS 

Her, stately curtseying; dusk waves they kiss, 
In carmined mirrors their own image meet, 
Whispering, "Maiden, here your haven is 
"From the hard world!" dense-thronged 

around the lake, 

Whereon there lay a kind of oily scum. 
A misty phantom brood; she deemed they 

spake, 

" Poor child ! and can you hesitate to come, 
u When Love and all your cruel race for- 
sake, 

" Where kind Oblivion offers you a home ? " 
The tall grey heron in chill twilight stands 
Unmoved as stump or stone, until it hears 
A plash, a human cry; the form expands 
Wide wings; a grey ghost flies; she dis- 
appears ; 

The water-rings grow large. 
One roamed the strands, 
Days after, a young man beset with fears 
For her strange flight; he saw above the 

water 

At dusk a pale light by the sighing grove ; 
Upon him wandering the labourer's daughter, 
Missed from her home, flashed unaware, his 
love, 

72 



NATURA NATURANS 

Though she loved a young noble ; her self- 
slaughter 

Will soon be plain when that dread treasure- 
trove 

Grim grappling-irons labouring up-buoy, 
An awful formless burden which was youth, 
Inanimate dim chaos which was joy! 



73 



NATURA NATURANS 



II 



But ah, the cruel vision, void of ruth, 
Shifts now the scene, to show love's brittle toy 
Broken, mid direr deathsheads of dull truth ! 
See those once lovely lovers walk the earth, 
Still side by side, for both are living yet. 
Yea, they were married; but the morning 

mirth 

Hath yielded to chill rain, and dull regret. 
In the gaunt winter woodlands there is dearth 
Of life and song; in those twinned hearts 

who met 
To dance at early dawn, there dance grim 

Death, 
And pale gaunt Horror, with a ghastly 

motion ; 
For now no dear enchantment of Love's 

breath 
Transmutes dull Fact ; as when through some 

clear ocean 
Plain weeds form lambent fairy realms 

beneath ; 

74 



NATURA NATURANS 

But they have drunken Time's belittling 

potion, 
And through once warm veins creeps the 

wintry frost 

Of age, indifference, disillusionment, 
Wrath, hate; each droopeth, a tired haggard 

ghost; 
Poor cankering cares for trivial things had 

blent 

With these to wither hopeful buds that, lost, 
Can ne'er form fruit now; so, wan eyes 

downbent, 

They fare upon life's dreary barren road, 
Snows of deep winter on bowed heads and 

hearts, 
As on bare-boughs that groan beneath their 

load. 

Ah ! but the acorn dropped in summer starts 
A winged green seedling from its blind abode 
Of burial in kind earth; and sleep imparts 
For renovation rest; the workworn dead, 
Who only longed to cease, have found more 

life 

Unwearying; and hearts who once were wed, 
(So, Faith low-breathes, with strangling 

doubts at strife), 
75 



NATURA NATURANS 

For all change, failure, torpor, wounds that 

bled, 

In sunnier climes will grow true man and wife. 
What shocks the best in us can neer be true, 
Nor aught unlovely, save in outward seeming ; 
These are the larval Virtues that endue 
Slow ripening perfections richly teeming; 
They wore another aspect while they grew ; 
But Sense may prove less near the Truth 

than Dreaming. 





Noel, (Hon.) Roden Berkeley 
Wriothesley 
My sea 



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